CHICAGO - When Dylan Bundy fanned 14 Chicago White Sox batters Thursday afternoon he came one whiff short of the Orioles’ single-game record of 15 strikeouts, done three times.
Mike Mussina fanned 15 Minnesota Twins batters on Aug. 1, 2000, and he also fanned 15 Boston Red Sox batters on Sept. 24, 2000. On July 7, 2007, Erik Bedard fanned 15 against the Texas Rangers.
Bundy got 14 in his two-hitter as the Orioles beat the White Sox 9-3 to split a four-game series. It topped his previous career high by two strikeouts and he recorded 10 or more in a game for the fifth time in his career.
“Yeah, I knew they were an aggressive team,” Bundy said. “That’s when you really have to execute your fastball low and away or even inside to get them off your secondary pitches, so you can get those guys out.”
I asked catcher Chance Sisco if he and Bundy were going for strikeouts at times or if they just came about because his stuff was so good?
“I think it is just the stuff was good enough that he gets them,” Sisco said. “When you get into those situations, early two-strike counts, then yeah you are going for the strikeout. Trying to put them away as quickly as possible. He had pretty much all four pitches he had command of. When he’s got that going, you can do a lot with that.”
Bundy’s 21 swing and miss strikes yesterday is his second-best of the season. He had 23 on April 23 versus Cleveland when he fanned nine over six innings.
He was dealin’ Dylan and he was impressive. The kid is smart. When he was asked about sitting in the dugout a long time when the Orioles were scoring in the early innings, he said he got to the mound quickly to get in more warm-up pitches. Pitchers are not limited to a certain amount and they can throw as many as they want while the between-innings clock is running down. And he did.
The Chris Davis saga: Most of the reporters in the press box yesterday at Gauranteed Rate Field where there to cover the suspension of former Oriole catcher Welington Castillo of the White Sox, but two reporters from Baltimore had a different agenda. They sought reactions to Jim Palmer’s critical comments about Chris Davis on the MASN telecast Wednesday night.
Davis and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh were accomodating. They didn’t duck any questions and answered everything sent their way. Coolbaugh did two separate interviews. He and Davis were professional and accomodating.
Right now Davis is a lighting rod for fan criticism and is getting crushed 24-7. Birdland is relentless in their bashing of him. He deserves criticism, of course, but I’m not sure he deserves it around the clock or that he is to be blamed for everything that ails the Orioles.
But in my humble opinion, Davis missed a chance yesterday to win back some fans. He hasn’t yet said while looking into the cameras that “I have been terrible this year and I’m hurting my team and letting down the fans.” Sometimes if you just fall on the sword, the fans appreciate it and will tone down their criticisms.
I don’t know what will fix Davis at this point or if his struggles are even fixable. But it doesn’t seem that he actually spent much time with Coolbaugh over the winter and it doesn’t seem he has made many adjustments, tweaks or changes this year. He said he would bunt and we haven’t seen it.
Buck Showalter was right when he said “those are the type of things that happen when you are having the struggles we’re having.” He was talking about the criticism of Davis and how everything played out yesterday in the Orioles clubhouse before the game.
Showalter, though, is open to some criticism here as well. He keeps batting a player fifth that has a lower OPS than Jace Peterson and Craig Gentry. He should be dropped to seventh or lower until he starts driving the ball. If he sat out more games who could blame Showalter for that at this point?
At the end of the day there was a lot of “he said, he said” over the last two days with the Orioles. It was all covered right here. But the question of whether Davis will ever again be a productive hitter remains front and center.